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Nose High Unusual Attitude Recovery (Low Bank)


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APS Commentary: Below APS has provided a Ground Training and Flight Training Video meeting the format and prioritization of the URTA recovery procedures. At APS we generally teach the Power-Push-Roll technique applicable to pilots from General Aviation through Transport Category airplanes. In the URTA presentation below, the technique is slightly modified to follow the URTA flow of Push-Power-Roll. Regardless of the specific order of the steps and timing of the power/thrust decision, it is critically important for the aircraft be unloaded (“push” to reduce g-loading to less than 1-G) prior to initiating the roll to a wings level flight condition. In a nose-low situation where Va (maneuvering speed) has been exceeded, or will be exceeded, it is very important that the power/thrust be reduced (speed-brakes/spoilers if appropriate) to minimize altitude loss during the recovery. For a detailed explanation on dive recovery considerations, please refer to APS’s article on Dive Recovery Techniques. More background information on the URTA can be found on the APS Web Site – click here. Please take a moment to submit your feedback to APS on this clip.
PS: Don’t miss “The Incredible Floating Dog Clip” at the end of this summary. Unfortunately, it’s only in High-Res Windows Media Format (WMV)

SECTION 2 PAGE: 2-41 Nose-High, Wings-Level / Low-Bank
Recovery Techniques


  • Pitch attitude unintentionally more than 25 deg, nose high, and increasing.
  • Airspeed decreasing rapidly.
  • Ability to maneuver decreasing.

Start by disengaging the autopilot and auto-throttle and recognize and confirm the situation. Next, apply nose-down elevator to achieve a nose-down pitch rate. This may require as much as full nose-down input. If a sustained column force is required to obtain the desired response, consider trimming off some of the control force. However, it may be difficult to know how much trim should be used; therefore, care must be taken to avoid using too much trim. Do not fly the airplane using pitch trim, and stop trimming nose-down as the required elevator force lessens. If at this point the pitch rate is not immediately under control, there are several additional techniques that may be tried. The use of these techniques depends on the circumstances of the situation and the airplane control characteristics. Pitch may be controlled by rolling the airplane to a bank angle that starts the nose down. The angle of bank should not normally exceed approximately 60 deg. Continuous nose-down elevator pressure will keep the wing angle of attack as low as possible, which will make the normal roll controls effective. With airspeed as low as the onset of the stick shaker, or lower, up to full deflection of the ailerons and spoilers can be used. The rolling maneuver changes the pitch rate into a turning maneuver, allowing the pitch to decrease. In most situations, these techniques should be enough to recover the airplane from the nose-high, wings-level upset. However, other techniques may also be used to achieve a nose-down pitch rate. If altitude permits, flight tests have shown that an effective method for getting a nose-down pitch rate is to reduce the power on underwing-mounted engines. This reduces the upward pitch moment. In fact, in some situations for some airplane models, it may be necessary to reduce thrust to prevent the angle of attack from continuing to increase. This usually results in the nose lowering at higher speeds and a milder pitch-down. This
makes it easier to recover to level flight. If control provided by the ailerons and spoilers is ineffective, rudder input may be required to induce a rolling maneuver for recovery.

Only a small amount of rudder input is needed. Too much rudder applied too quickly or held too long may result in loss of lateral and directional control. Caution must be used when applying rudder because of the low-energy situation.

To complete the recovery, roll to wings level, if necessary, as the nose approaches the horizon. Recover to slightly nose-low attitude to reduce the potential for entering another upset. Check airspeed, and adjust thrust and pitch as necessary.

Nose-high, wings-level / low-bank recovery:

  • Recognize and confirm the situation.
  • Disengage autopilot and auto-throttle.
  • Apply as much as full nose-down elevator.
  • Use appropriate techniques:
    • Roll to obtain a nose-down pitch rate.
    • Reduce thrust (underwing-mounted engines).
  • Complete the recovery:
    • Approaching horizon, roll to wings level.
    • Check airspeed, adjust thrust.
    • Establish pitch attitude.

Question: How credible is the AIRPLANE UPSET RECOVERY TRAINING AID – REVISION 1? Here’s who wrote and endorsed it:
ABX Air, Inc., A.M. Carter Associates (Institute for Simulation & Training). Air Transport Association, Airbus, Air Line Pilots Association, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Inc., All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., Allied Pilots Association, Aloha Airlines, Inc., American Airlines, Inc., American Trans Air, Inc., Ansett Australia, Bombardier Aerospace Training Center (Regional Jet Training Center), British Airways, Calspan Corporation, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, Cayman Airways, Ltd., Civil Aviation House, Continental Airlines, Inc., Delta Air Lines, Inc., Deutsche Lufthansa AG, EVA Airways Corporation, Federal Aviation Administration, FlightSafety International, Flight Safety Foundation, Hawaiin Airlines, International Air Transport Association, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., Lufthansa German Airlines, Midwest Express Airlines, Inc., National Transportation Safety Board, Northwest Airlines, Inc., Qantas Airways, Ltd., SAS Flight Academy, Southwest Airlines, The Boeing Company, Trans World Airlines, Inc., United Air Lines, Inc., Upset Doamain Training Institute, US Airways, Inc., Veridian Rev 1_August 2004


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